Understanding the 5% Rule

The maximum number of students admitted to the four schools from any one school must not exceed 5% of that contributing school’s year 8 enrolment.  If there are 200 in year 8 at a school, then no more than a total of ten may be selected, even though more students may have reached the required academic standard.

An illustration makes this more easily understood.

XYZ Co-Educational Secondary School has 300 pupils in Year 8.  At 5% there will be fifteen places available.  Twenty-two students sat for the exam and seventeen were up to the standard.  Thus five students would be excluded because they were not up to the standard.  However, because there are only fifteen places available and there were seventeen students who had reached the required level a further two must be excluded.  The top fifteen would receive the places and others would be excluded because of the 5% rule.  They would, however, be asked to apply for a principal's discretionary place.

The balance between boys and girls would depend upon their marks.  The girls and boys are competing for the same fifteen places at any one of the four schools.  A student from a large secondary college from which there are very few candidates may have some advantage.  Every year students and parents say to us, "the 5% rule will not be a problem, he/she will probably be the only one sitting from the school."  On the day of the exam they are usually astounded to find a significant number of candidates from their school.

Do not presume that you will have no competition from the students within your school.

Students in schools with a very small year 8 enrolment may have reduced opportunities when compared with large schools.

The 5% rule is an example of social justice as it ensures that there are places available to students from a very wide spread of socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds. Thus the schools are a real experience of our multi-cultural society and wonderful preparation for working in Australia today.